‘2021: Life on Earth – moment of truth’ is the theme.
As climate changes, the biodiversity crisis and Covid-19 make clear, ecological conversion is becoming a matter of life and death. Decisions to be made this year at the COP26 climate summit and in the recovery from the pandemic are critical for salvaging a viable future. This is a year of opportunity the like of which we will never see again.
At Conference 2021 we will take inspiration from Laudato Si, Fratelli Tutti and secular thinking on integral ecology. We will seize this moment of grace for the changes and choices now confronting us.
Conference chair: Christine Allen, Director of CAFOD
Lorna Gold, Fr. Eamonn Mulcahy, Mark Rotherham, Bishop John Arnold, Colette Joyce, Lord Deben
There will be opportunities to take part in workshops and activities throughout the weekend as well a JUST FAIR consisting of more than 20 stalls from different agencies displaying goods and resources
There will be age-appropriate parallel programmes for young children and teens, as well as provision of a creche.
The NW NJPN E Bulletin for mid October covers a wide range of events and articles. The theme running through this issue is hope. We hear the voice of hope in the power of the human spirit in art, poetry, and stories: three Dads, former strangers united in grief, channelling the loss of their daughters to suicide to help others; 23 year-old footballer Marcus Rashford honoured in his home city for speaking out for children who live in poverty in the UK; 22 year-old Vian, who fled war in her Syrian homeland and is now continuing her training as an artist at college here; homeless people on park benches sharing their stories and building ‘community’; refugees and those who care for the dying finding hope in the belief that even ‘in a broken world, things aren’t fully broken’; hope to be found in Christ’s solidarity with the suffering earth and its potential restoration as described in a powerful article by Celia Deane -Drummond; hope, as Cardinal Vincent Nichols says, that the forthcoming synod will ‘make hopes flourish, stimulate trust, bind up wounds, and build bridges … to restore our common mission’; and hope that young people will be changemakers to create a more peaceful and sustainable world.
In the run-up to COP26 the October issue of the NW NJPN E Bulletin features several articles on the climate crisis. You can read more on this in the Winter edition of Vocations for Justice from the Columbans (see attachment). The plight of refugees and the government’s approach to this humanitarian issue comes under criticism as well as the current plan to end the Universal Credit top-up. Also included are some innovative online resources from the Arts world, linking climate change, racism and refugees. We have advance notice of Challenge Poverty Week 11-17 October and Asylum Matters Week of Action 18-24 October plus a song and a poem for peace to celebrate Peace One Day (21 September) and look forward to International Peace Day (2 October). Look for some interesting diary dates too.
The September issue of the NW NJPN E Bulletin leads with the current crisis in Afghanistan following the withdrawal of peace-keeping troops by the US. As the UK prepares to welcome refugees escaping persecution, Mayor Sadiq Khan condemns the immorality of hosting an Arms Fair in the London Docklands this September. Also featured this month are two important and contrasting synods: first the Root & Branch synod taking place in Bristol and by zoom from 5-12 September with discussions on ways to foster greater inclusivity for lay people, especially women, in the Catholic Church; the second the three-stage synod commissioned by Pope Francis which will culminate in October 2023. Sadly, this synod is structured in a way that gives power solely to local bishops to feedback comments and suggestions as they choose. For meaningful change to occur it’s vital for parishioners to seize the opportunity to dialogue with our bishops to make sure the views of the laity are heard and passed on. Women make up at least half of our congregations and yet the lectionary remains largely male-centric. A new lectionary compiled by a US Hebrew scholar seeks to address that imbalance, giving more focus to the role of women and girls to ‘centre’ on their stories and revealing that in the Hebrew Bible, the word for ‘Spirit of God’ (ruah) is grammatically feminine.
Included in this mailing is MouthPeace, the quarterly news bulletin for the dioceses of Shrewsbury and Liverpool. This excellent resource will shortly cover Lancaster diocese too. Many of the articles stretch beyond North West boundaries. Do sign up if you don’t already receive a copy.
A disturbing report released by the IPPC, the UN’s intergovernmental advisory panel on climate change, on 9 August spells out the danger for our planet in no uncertain terms. The August issue of the NW NJPN E Bulletin focuses on the urgent need to make radical changes before it is too late – let’s redouble our efforts in the run-up to COP26. The bulletin also features an interview with James Timpson who has employed ex-prisoners in his family firm since 2008 and says putting trust in people pays off, plus an article from former The Tablet journalist Liz Dodd who is leaving the field of journalism to prepare for the novitiate with the Sisters of St Joseph of Peace. We pay a heartfelt tribute to Charlie Burchell, former Chair of Shrewsbury Justice and Peace Commission who played a key role in the diocese in the 1980s and 1990s. There are several books suggested for summer reading plus diary dates.
For reports of the recent NJPN Conference please go to Independent Catholic News or look out for the next NJPN News Bulletin.
Charlie died peacefully at home in Heswall on 25th July 2021 aged 92. He will be sadly missed by all his family and friends. Charlie’s funeral Mass will be held at Our Lady and St John’s church, Heswall at 12noon on Thursday 5th August.
Charlie was well known and loved for all his work for justice and peace. He was the first lay Chair of Shrewsbury Justice and Peace Commission and a long-standing member of the National Justice and Peace Network. Charlie served as Chair of the Network from 1997 – 1999 then known as the National Liaison Committee of Diocesan Justice and Peace Groups (NLC)
We remember Charlie and his family in our prayers
May he rest in peace and rise in glory.